Game On

Fish Creek’s 36th annual Winterfest takes place Feb. 2-4

Fish Creek’s Winterfest is fast approaching. With it comes a chance to prove your worth as Door County’s best ice-bowler, cherry-spitter or stumpf-fiddler – or the best food- and music-enjoyer if you aren’t the competitive type. Point is, there’s something for everyone at Winterfest, which runs Feb. 2-4 this year.

The fun starts on Feb. 2 with Disco DoCo Night, an evening of music, dancing and art at Hands On Art Studio, 3655 Peninsula Players Road.

During the all-ages event, attendees can paint ceramics or make a mosaic while DJ Rick Ehlert spins tunes from the ‘70s and beyond. Ceramics painted on Friday can be picked up on Sunday after 2:30 pm, while mosaics can go home with the artist on the same night. 

A $10 cover at the door includes one beer or soft drink, and additional beverages will be available to purchase. Disco attire is encouraged.

The following day’s festivities start at 10 am on Feb. 3, when the main tent and game booths open at Clark Park, 4150 Maple St. A trolley shuttle will pick up guests around town from 11 am – 4 pm. 

The heated main tent will be open 10 am – 6 pm with food and drinks available inside, while the game booths will be open 10 am – 3 pm. Attendees can try their hands at the toilet-seat toss, minnow racing, ice bowling and other quirky contests.

Also starting at 10 am is “All Things Chocolate,” an annual bake sale fundraiser by the Gibraltar Historical Association. Attendees can stock up on chocolate goodies at Fish Creek’s Old Town Hall, 4176 Maple St., to help keep Gibraltar’s history alive.

Back at the main tent, 11 am – 1 pm, the second-annual Snowflake Cake Bake will be held. The theme of this year’s cake-decorating contest is “snowman.” During the event, cakes are judged by appearance and crowd favorite, and each cake will be raffled off to event-goers.

Competitors must register in advance in one of two divisions: ages 13 and up and ages 12 and under. Submitted cakes must be able to fit in a 10-by-10-by10 box and be delivered to the Main Tent at Clark Park by 10:30 am on Feb. 3. For more information, email [email protected].

The Winterfest fun continues at Top of the Hill Shops, which will offer free henna art and host a chili cook-off at 9331 Spring Road., 12-4 pm. At 12:30 pm, an ice-rescue demonstration will be held at Clark Park, and at 1 pm, a cherry pit spit contest will take place at Lautenbach’s Orchard Country Winery and Market, 9197 state Highway 42.

The next main-tent event is the yearly stumpf-fiddle competition at 2 pm. After competitors fiddle out a song onstage, a winner will be determined by audience applause.

A stumpf fiddler. File photo by Rachel Lukas.

With divisions for beginner and experienced fiddlers – and prizes for both categories – the contest is open to anyone. Player check-in at the main stage begins at 1:50 pm, with the beginner division starting at 2 pm and the pro division starting at 2:20 pm. Stumpf fiddles will be available for contestants who do not bring their own.

When the contest concludes, local rock band Bacchus Lotus will take the stage 3-6 pm. Their set will be followed by fireworks over the ice at 6:15 pm.

The evening will wind down with a 5-8 pm candlelit ski/hike at Peninsula State Park, then more live music by Ketchup at 10 pm. The band will play funky instrumentals and hipster covers at Hill Street, 4149 Hwy 42.

The next day, Feb. 4 at 10:30 am, Winterfesters will don their best costumes for the Fruit Loop Fun Run, a 0.49-mile course that goes through downtown Fish Creek. Runners will be awarded a bowl of Fruit Loops upon returning to the main tent, and the best-dressed and first-place finishers will receive prizes. A post-race party with celebratory bloody marys will be held at Bayside Tavern, 4160 Main St. 

To sign up for the cake bake, the stumpf fiddle contest or the Fruit Loop run, go to